Sunday, January 31, 2010

Curse you IKEA! Why must I love you so?!

So it's a chilly Saturday afternoon and a beautiful woman named Anna and my kids want to get out of the house. No problem. Anna's destination of choice...a 2 hour drive to IKEA. If you've never heard of the place, maybe you live in one of the handful of states that doesn't have one of these behemoths inside its borders. That's o.k. since I can explain.

The first thing to know is that IKEA is not a store. Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target...these are stores, but IKEA in itself, is an event. People prepare to go to an IKEA much like celebrities prepare to go to an awards show or normal people prepare to do early Christmas shopping(yes, even the ones who consider Dec. 24th to be early). If you don't mentally and physically prepare yourself, then you will end up a broken person aimlessly walking around looking for the exit.

The next question is not to ask, "What does IKEA sell?", but ask, "What doesn't IKEA sell?". This "store" is a 2 story marketplace full of some items that every home needs and a huge amount of crap that no one needs, but looks so great in the store that you really want to buy it(only to question yourself in shame weeks later). Beds, plants, tables, desks, art work, shelves, pillows, towels, finger puppets(yes, finger puppets), and so much more. IKEA is set up in such an intricate maze that the good management is even nice enough to employ guides, trackers, and people to supply you with water as you make your trek through the store.

For anyone who has ever frequented a superstore so many times that the workers know you by name, or anyone who spends hours in an electronics store and buys nothing, then you have to visit IKEA. I like the store so much that I googled it, but I was startled by my findings. It turns out that IKEA was started in Sweden in 1943 by a man named Hans Ikea. Mr. Ikea had the notion that everyone outside of Sweden lacked taste and style, so he created a store for everyone to buy crap that would make their homes look Swedish. He also invented a dangerously sweet elixir known as "lignon berry punch" which is actually a psychotropic beverage intended to make the drinker more Swedish, but it tastes like expensive kool-aid(OH YEAH!).

So in closing, Mr. Ikea may have plans of making the entire world Swedish, but I can't wait to go to IKEA again!